Title: The Pitfalls of Seduction
Pairing: Shikamaru x Ino
Summary: In which Shikamaru is oblivious, Ino is irritated, Sakura is the epitome of evil, Hinata feels guilty. And Tenten? She's just amused. Oh, and there's blackmail.

Notes: Sequel to And Fortune Smiles. Please read that—and review, yes?—to get a better idea of the backstory.

Author's Notes: This sequel gave me a very, very bad idea for my next Naruto story. And by "bad," I mean cracked-up. Which isn't bad for anyone, really…oh. Except for maybe Sasuke, Naruto, Shikamaru and Neji.

Disclaimer: No matter how many times I wish for it…nope, not mine.

Sakura hummed softly as she slipped, unnoticed, into her office. The past few days had been wonderful. Ever since that night, after the dinner at the Chinese restaurant, things between her and Sasuke had been…

She sighed softly as she opened her drawer to take out the files she'd need this for this morning's rounds. Before they could reach their destination, her hands stilled at the feel of something unfamiliar. She pulled out the offending sheets of paper, brow furrowing as she tried to remember what they were.

The moment she saw what the "sheets" were, her forehead smoothed out, and her eyes took on an impish light.

Thanks, Hinata-chan. I'll find use for these yet.

Sakura smirked wickedly as she remembered the circumstances under which the pictures were taken.

Then, still smiling widely, she picked up the phone and dialed Tenten.

Yamanaka Ino was having a Very, Very Bad Day.

It had started the moment the sun hit her eyes this morning. In her fumbling for renewed darkness, she'd knocked over her alarm clock, and broken it. Then, when she'd bent down to pick it up, she'd hit her head on the edge of her nightstand. From the feel of it, there would be a beautifully shining bruise on her forehead by tomorrow morning.

When she'd gone to shower, she found, to her dismay, that all of the hot water had been used up.

Her favorite blouse had an obnoxious coffee stain on it, and in her fury, she'd slammed her hand down on her dresser, knocking a framed picture of her and Sakura in their younger days, from its place on the side.

As she was leaving to get to work—late, of course!—the phone had started ringing. Sakura was on the other line. She told her best friend to met her at the nearby bakery for some "girl talk," Ino could only snarl in the affirmative.

After her harried conversation with Sakura, she'd rushed to work, dodging early morning market-goers, only to find out that Ibiki-sensei and Anko-senpai were running late themselves. Ino would have to come back in about two hours.

So now she was here, stirring her coffee periodically, and, every now and then, looking with apprehension at the gleam in Sakura's eyes. Beside the medic-nin, Tenten looked like she was set to explode at any second. From the amused look in her brown eyes, and the fact that she was focusing all of her attention on her, the blonde had a sinking notion that—whatever that packet in Sakura's hands was—it did not bode well for her. She looked at Hinata, who was sitting next to her, and facing Tenten. The Hyuuga heiress was twiddling her thumbs, a gesture that made Ino arch one, perfectly-sculpted eyebrow. Hinata hadn't been that way since their genin days.

What in the world had happened?

She took a closer look at the expression on the shy kunoichi's face.

Was that…guilt?

She dropped the napkin she'd been grasping in one clenched fist, and leveled a look of suspicion at her best friend.

"All right, Forehead. What the hell's going on? We've got one petrified Hyuuga who looks like the sky's going to fall, one awfully amused weapons mistress who smirking like the cat who just ate the cream, and then you…with your mysterious, white packet and your emergency girls' meeting. What's this all about?"

Sakura merely smiled a sickeningly sweet smile, leaned in, and asked one very simple question.

"Ino-chan…how do you feel about Shikamaru-kun?"

That was when Ino decided today was going to be a Very, Very Bad Day.

Short? Yes. But it gets lots better. This, after all, just the intro. Like I said in my notes, for more back story, read And Fortune Smiles. I see this particular piece stretching no more than three chapters long. Maybe four. But that's it.

Hope you enjoyed.

Now, please make an author happy, and review? ;)